Offered the chance to go traipsing around Europe with one of your favourite bands, most of us would jump at the chance. That’s exactly what happened to Matthew Carroll, a merchandiser for Warner Brothers. He was asked to accompany The Spill Canvas on their inaugural tour in Europe, as they opened for superstar rockers Plain White T’s during their most recent international European tour. (You know, they sing that Delilah song)
“The Spill Canvas was headed over to Europe for the first time, and we decided it would be a good thing if I went over there and did the merchandise for them,” he says. “I just went to make sure everything went smoothly.”
At some point, Carroll decided to write a TravelPod blog. “”It was the first time I’d been to Europe. I’ve never been a guy who takes pictures or writes journals. I just felt like for this trip, I needed to do it, and I’m glad I did.”
The first thing a casual observer of Carroll’s blog will notice is that his profile picture is none other than Jesus Christ. He chose this picture because his passport photo is pretty much identical to the Chosen One. After taking the picture, but before leaving on the trip, he cut his hair and consequently no longer looked like the Saviour of Mankind. “I got the double look at every checkpoint, every airport, everything,” he says with levity in his voice.
The tour provided him with the opportunity to see what touring on an international level was like from the other side of the merch table. His blog is peppered with amusing videos of crazed teenagers shoving each other for a chance to buy a T-shirt or memento of the concert, and spaced out girls proclaiming their love for the Spill Canvas in broken English.
“It was really cool to be out there with young kids and watching them experience what I used to experience when I was younger,” he smiles, remembering his younger days, finally back home in his office in Los Angeles. “They are completely moved by the music. That was really cool to see.”
He also managed to become completely obsessed with the “mannequin pis”, after seeing the famous urinating statue during the band’s stop in Brussels, Belgium. He carried a two foot tall replica all the way home, but can’t remember how much he spent on the purchase. “I bought it in the middle of the night, when I was really drunk and I just didn’t care,” Carroll says with a laugh.
All this music business is not just fun and games, however. It requires a lot of hard work and sometimes incredible stamina. “Sleeping in the van, eight of us in a van, sitting up in Stuttgart, Germany, was a rough night,” he says. “And then walking into the hotel at like 6 a.m. and trying to get our rooms early, and being told, ‘no'”, he pauses for emphasis. “That was the roughest time.” Everybody had to kill five hours before being allowed to pass out in a proper bed. For Carroll, most of this time was spent in the lobby, or wandering city streets, dazed.
Asked if he would do it again, he replies, “100 per cent!”